Acquisitions lift Dechra as group aims to raise its profile throughout Europe

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PET drugs firm Dechra Pharmaceuticals said it is confident of more strategic progress after third-quarter sales grew 9.9 per cent.

The group, which owns Skipton-based Dales Pharmaceuticals, said revenues in the three months to the end of March were ahead of the 9.3 per cent rate during the first nine months of its financial year.

“Current trading remains in line with the board’s expectations and the directors remain confident that the group will continue to make good strategic progress throughout the remainder of the financial year,” it said.

The group said it has been boosted by acquisitions. It bought the worldwide rights to HY-50, an equine lameness product, for £5.1m on January 31.

Dechra also announced plans to buy Dutch-owned Eurovet Animal Health BV for 135 million euros (£109m) in April, funded by a rights issue to raise £60m and a new £120m bank facility. It is expected to complete later this month.

Dechra believes buying Eurovet will strengthen its presence in Europe, increase its product portfolio and improve its manufacturing. Eurovet, owned by AUV Holding, operates in the pet and farm animal pharmaceuticals markets.

It is headquartered in the Netherlands but it also has sales and marketing operations in Cambridge, Germany, Belgium and Denmark.

Dechra said revenue growth from its pharmaceuticals division was “strong” at 19.8 per cent for the quarter, an improvement on the 17.8 per cent rate for the nine months to March 31.

Growth in its diets business accelerated to 6.9 per cent in the quarter.

The group’s European products business grew turnover by 12.8 per cent versus a year earlier. Dechra said this growth rate was “flattered slightly” by pre-price rise buying in France.

Revenues from its US pharmaceuticals business were ahead of last year by 26.8 per cent in the third quarter and 36.2 per cent for the nine months ended March 31.

The group added sales in its services business segment increased by eight per cent in the third quarter.